Koelemay Takes Helm at OTP3

Doug Koelemay

I’m a little late getting to this news, but better late than never: Tony Kinn, the McDonnell appointee who built the Office of Transportation Public Private Partnerships (OTP3) into a nationally recognized pioneer in public-private partnerships, is out. J. Douglas Koelemay, former vice president for community relations at Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), is in.

The OTP3 is arguably the most important branch of state government you never heard of. A handful of employees solicit, filter, select and negotiate public-private partnership deals to build transportation infrastructure. Through this office, the McDonnell administration leveraged hundreds of millions of dollars of state funds into billions of dollars of transportation investment.

“Virginia remains committed to the tenets of the 1995 PPTA act and the benefits of using private capital to help fund major transportation projects,” said Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne in announcing Koelemay’s appointment two weeks ago. “As a policy and public affairs professional, Doug’s critical knowledge of the vital relationships and countless other factors required for any successful public-private transportation project will ensure that Virginia’s investments in such ventures continue to bring us the best return from the public’s tax dollars.”

Under Kinn, the OTP3 won national recognition not only for helping finance highway mega-projects but for privatizing the operation of Virginia’s transportation control centers, leasing air rights and dreaming up new applications of Virginia’s public-private partnership law. Some of the projects were highly controversial, particularly the Midtown-Dowtown Tunnels project in Hampton Roads and the U.S. 460 toll road between Petersburg and Suffolk.

Koelemay represents a mainstream, business-friendly Democratic perspective not dissimilar to that of Governor Terry McAuliffe, and served on the board of the Commonwealth Transportation Board for six years as a Northern Virginia representative. He had worked as vice president for public affairs of the Northern Virginia Technology Council and as managing director of Qorvis Communications before moving to SAIC. He wrote a column, Koelemay’s Kosmos, for Bacon’s Rebellion between 2002 and 2008.

(Hat-tip: Rob Whitfield.)


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3 responses to “Koelemay Takes Helm at OTP3”

  1. I’ve known Doug for many years. He’s a good guy and will bring good experience to the position. Of course, that doesn’t mean he’s right or wrong on any particular issue. The public continues to be active and not just accept whatever the Commonwealth proposes. But Doug was a good choice for the job.

  2. geeze.. I was thinking TMT was going to go after him for his SAIC connections!

    Isn’t that the same company that Connelly was with and claimed to influence Metro and Fairfax land-use decisions?

  3. Larry, my problem was Connolly as both an SAIC official and chairman of the BoS voted to add a fourth Silver Line rail station in front of SAIC’s building on Route 7. He should have recused himself and left the room while the debate and voting occurred.

    I don’t think Doug had anything to do with that shameful incident. I don’t always agree with Koelemay on transportation and Tysons issues, but he is a reasonable person who will listen to and consider other people’s views.

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